Laws Gone Green-- too little or too crazy?

7.12.2010
by josh


cc licensed flickr photo shared by net_efekt

Sometimes people waste and exploit the environment to the point where it's not just irresponsible— it's also a crime. So it really didn't take long before governments started to address these crimes against the environment through concrete legislation.

It seems like governments worldwide are catching on to the green movement in unique ways. We’ve found three laws that will most certainly help the environment, but are also bound to be controversial.

The Bottled Water Ban (Bundadoon, NSW, Australia)

We all know bottled water is bad, but illegal? On July 8th, the small New South Wales (NSW) hamlet of Bundadoon (population: 2,035) approved a ban on the plastic bad boys. The ban was approved at a community meeting of nearly 400, with only two dissenting votes. Fortunately for those two, the ban is only voluntary, but the support for the ban is large enough to make a statement—this hamlet isn’t in the market for bottled water. Instead, it’s installing free public water fountains to replace bottled water supplies.

This followed an impressive decision by NSW Premier Nathan Rees to ban all state government agencies from buying bottled water. NSW government employees will have to find some other office bastion to gossip around since water cooler supplies have also been eliminated in the ban.

These laws are extremely welcome in a country where a liter of water costs about twice as much as a liter of gas.

So what do you think? A bottled water free Australia in 2015?

The Anti-Arctic Breeze Law (New York City)

Summer days in the city are always alleviated by air-conditioning spilling out into the sidewalk, but is this brief comfort worth the environmental cost of wasting energy? Not only is it irresponsible, in New York City it’s also against the law!

The New York City law prohibiting businesses from keeping their doors open to attract hot, sweaty, and exhausted pedestrians (a.k.a. potential customers) was officially passed in 2008, but businesses with doors wide open and AC on have since only received warnings… until now! On Thursday, a total of nine businesses in Manhattan and the Bronx that were slapped on the wrist last year were now slapped with hefty $200 fines. The law also allows the fines to increase to $400 per any repeat infractions.


cc licensed flickr photo shared by niallkennedy

Sorry NYC pedestrians— seems like you’ll have to brave your shopping expeditions in the muggy humidity, but we’re sure you’ll agree it’s for the greater good.

Meat-Free Thursdays (Ghent, Belgium)


cc licensed flickr photo shared by StrudelMonkey

Nope, this isn’t a special bar night—this is a law! Ghent, the third largest city in Belgium with a population of more than 230,000 is officially promoting a weekly vegetarian day, a city-wide ban on meat. Of course, the law is really only compulsory for city employees, but city-financed schools will only be serving vegetarian food to students on Thursdays by default.

The reason behind the meat ban? According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the livestock industry contributes to 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions—that’s more than cars! The city of Ghent also wants to promote a healthy lifestyle and diet, especially with today’s escalating obesity crisis.

Veggie Thursdays aren’t going to be especially enforced, but what do you think? Would you support a 100% vegetarian day in your city?

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